Anyone who visits my apartment would very quickly figure out that I like plants. My living room is full of all kinds of large plants, and as I sit here in my studio writing this I can count 8 plants most of which are Yuccas. My bathroom is pretty much the same, and because my bedroom isn’t light enough to support real plants I have three fake ones up there. I’m all about plants; I always have been

I’ve never really been into gardening though, mainly because the weather here in England is unpredictable and therefore I might have to tend to the garden in weather than is cold or wet. In fact the whole idea of getting my hands and clothes muddy is one that simply doesn’t excite me.

However, while at last years ‘Xangbang’ at Karen and Albert’s home in Houston Texas, Karen showed me this great big plant that she said had grown to an impressive height in just a space of a few months. I had to have a plant like that, I thought. If I plant a seed I like to see results quickly, so if this plant had become this tall in just a few months then I decided that I would endeavor to grow one myself the following summer.

So here we are in the following summer. Karen told that she thought the ‘tree’ in question was a caster plant, so I went online and purchased a packet of seeds. I sought advise from a gardner who said that the caster plant might not enjoy the English climate too much, but for the price of a pack of seeds I was willing to give it a go with the image of Karen’s tree like plant as my inspiration.

Well, so far so good! As you can see from the picture above I had optimistically planted the first of my caster plants in a huge pot in the hope that it would reach as tall as Karen’s. Due to the fact that an English summer feels like a refrigerator compared to a Texas summer, I’ve accepted that my plant may not thrive in quite the same way as Karen’s did. But it’s still impressed me thus far and it continues to grow quickly, so by the end of the summer who knows how tall it may have grown.

I’ve nicknamed the plant a ‘blog tree’ on account of the fact that had it not been for blogging I wouldn’t have seen Karen’s caster plant and therefore wouldn’t have been so inspired to attempt growing one myself.

As I stated earlier the reason for being in Karen and Albert’s back yard was for our second blog party, now known as a ‘Xangbang.’ Despite it’s rather dubious name (which I blame Sommer for by the way, though she blames me so who knows) the ‘Xangbang’ is a party for a circle of bloggers.

The first such party was thrown 2 years ago when I visited my friend Erin in Houston. Last years party was even bigger, and plans are taking shape for a third ‘Xangbang’ in Houston when I am there in July. I’m not sure how many of the folks who have gone to those parties met fellow bloggers for the first time there, but it’s just a buzz to actually meet people you’ve gotten to know online that you might otherwise have never known.

By the end of the summer my blog tree will have grown a few more branches, and who knows, maybe my blog will have done the same too?

Karen’s Xanga blog
The 2006 Xangbang
The 2005 Xangbang
Look who I met in London